This entry is a list of software that I feel you need or I strongly recommend. Items in this list will be added and removed as needed.
- Cloudmark DesktopOne: This is email spam filtering software that is the best I have ever used. You and other users "vote" on which email is spam by clicking the "block" button. The block button removes the email from your inbox and sends a vote to Cloudmark. The more votes an email gets the better Cloudmark gets at automatically removing spam. Since there are millions of users voting then there is little chance that good email will be blocked and also a very good chance that bad email will be blocked. Go to www.cloudmark.com and click the download button.
- Cisco's Network Magic: This program monitors your network and alerts you if an intruder is using your system. In addition if you want to share files on your network it really helps when you have mixed operating systems. For example sharing files between Windows XP and Windows 7 can be a real pain without Network Magic. For parents there is a feature I really like which is "screen snapshot" which allows you take a snapshot of what's on your kids computer so you can see what they are doing. In addition you can set it up to take a snapshot on a regular basis. I recommend you set it up for a snapshot every 60 seconds. You can also get daily reports of your computers usage. In addition you can also run speed tests to see how fast (or slow) your network is. Network Magic was created by Pure Networks who was bought by Cisco. If you have any Cisco or Linksys hardware then Network Magic is free! Go to www.purenetworks.com/NetworkMagic to download the software.
- Carbonite Backup: This package backs up your computer to the internet. It only backs up selected files on your computer including your email files. This is a good product for recovering individual files but not for restoring your whole computer. I had the occasion to restore my entire computer once and it took 4 days, 24 hours a day to restore everything that had been backed up. Some of the things that are not automatically backed up are executable files, only the data files. If you want to back up executable files, like downloaded programs, you can manually mark them for backup. You should backup your entire disk to a local external disk drive with different software; see the next entry. If you have lots of pictures or videos they to should be on a local external disk drive. More about this later. To get the Carbonite software go to www.Carbonite.com. The cost is only $55.00 a year.